The BAFTA website welcomed two members of Sky’s Editorial Team for a very different Film Awards experience.
Make the most of this, my colleague Tim reminded me, and I reminded him back. Walking the Orange British Academy Film Awards red carpet does not happen every year, and this may be the only time we do it.
So, what did we do to join the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis, Kiera Knightley, Shane Meadows, Ridley Scott, Ricky Gervais, Marion Cotillard, and erm… Skymovies.com editor Mike Taylor?
Well, we didn’t win a competition, but were garreted in a deluxe filing cabinet on the fifth floor with fellow members of the fourth estate, furiously polishing press releases and prepping red carpet picture galleries.
Our remit including name-checking premiere fashion houses for celebrity picture galleries… this from a pair whose sartorial elegance comes courtesy of George at Asda.
The red carpet is deceptively long, as bright as a thousands stars, and lined with on-lookers desperately trying to work out if you’re famous or not. We waved anyway, and fooled quite a few.
The media centre was crammed with showbiz hacks decked out with tangerine colour lanyards, all looking like they had been Tango'd. But, fed and watered and hooked up with free wi-fi, they were mostly harmless.
Not to bore you with the entire Rob and Tim show, our edited highlights were:
- Red Carpet (hello mum!)
- The almighty cheer we provoked… then realized it was for Shane Meadows
- Witnessing Eddie Izzard’s marathon red carpet crawl
- Marion Cotillard claiming the word "passionate" for herself, when accepting her award
We went home empty handed, but really it’s just an honour to be nominated…. by our boss to work on BAFTA’s website.
Same time next year? Hello...?
Written by Rob Daniels and Tim Evans, Sun 10 Feb
The red carpet is an international showcase of fashion, glamour and style in front of the world’s press. I spoke to one of our event photographers, Marc Hoberman, about the pressures involved in getting the perfect shot...
What will you be doing on the day?
A lot of everything! The day starts early with photography of the nominees getting ready and general behind-the-scenes preparation. Then there’s the call for the red carpet when everyone arrives and things happen in the blink of an eye (or the click of a camera shutter!). Inside the foyer of The Royal Opera House I will be photographing the nominees for an official picture then I’ll head to Grosvenor House to cover the post-awards dinner and party into the early hours of the morning.
What do you enjoy most about covering the awards?
Originally a wildlife photographer I’m also a film fanatic so with all the split second opportunities, action and feathers I enjoy every moment! Every year I look forward to working with the BAFTA team who are as fun as they are ‘on-the-ball’. And of course it’s great to have the opportunity to meet and photograph some of the world’s biggest stars.
What are you looking forward to photographing most on the day?
I think it’s the fact that I don’t know what that ‘thing’ is. Lots happens on the night including a few surprises so it’s the unknown factors that I look forward to.
What camera will you being using?
For the awards I use a Canon EOS1D Mark II with a variety of lenses. My favourite is the L Series 300mm which may seem rather over-the-top as it’s a big lens but it is particularly sharp and gives an interesting depth of field. I always try to avoid using flash or artificial light so that I can capture the real atmosphere.
What problems do you face getting shots of the big name stars and how do you deal with the pressure?
It can be a little stressful photographing the stars because you never know what mood they are in and how happy they are to co-operate (remember, they have been photographed 1000 times that day already). As a rule of thumb, whenever I have the golden opportunity to photograph someone very important something inevitably goes wrong with my equipment and I have to confidently improvise – so now I carry a spare set of everything. This happens to the best of photographers but that’s life! Getting the right balance between professionalism and a sense of humour is the best way to cope and usually things work out great.
Where will your photos end up?
The photographs I take are exclusively for BAFTA so they will be used in BAFTA publications and on the BAFTA website. However I often get requests from the stars and their agents for images after the awards.
Describe your best ever shot from previous awards and events
It’s hard to tell which my favourite is. Last year I took a picture of Ben Kingsley and quite by chance he was standing in front of a poster of himself from Ghandi with the same facial expression twenty-five years on.
Written by Rob Cawston, Sun 10 Feb
Setting the Stage
The Orange British Academy Film Awards are recognised internationally as a showcase of excellence in film. I caught up with BAFTA’s Head of Production, Clare Brown, to find out exactly what it takes to stage such a prestigious and glamorous event.
How did you end up producing the Film Awards for BAFTA?
I trained in theatre production and worked for years in TV stage management. After having a family I returned to producing TV events and awards. After working on the National TV Awards and the Comedy Awards for 10 years, I joined BAFTA in 2000.
What are the main challenges of putting on an awards event of this scale?
The biggest challenge is coordinating the many components that make up an event of this size. Security, health and safety and planning for bad weather are all important but the timings and the venue are key. The Royal Opera House plans two years in advance so we spent four years persuading them to include us in their annual programme.
Media access and logistics take a huge amount of planning due to global interest in the event. Apart from our own production crews, E! Entertainment and Sky News will be broadcasting live from the red carpet. Each year we aim to put on a bigger and better event and this year we have10 satellite vehicles within the narrow streets of Covent Garden.
We spend a lot time raising awareness of the event with the National Film Tour plus poster and cinema advertising amongst other things. Public access is also very important as they start queuing from early on Sunday morning to get a place next to the red carpet.
What will you be doing on the night?
I try to get around every area to make sure it's all going as planned but I will primarily oversee events in the press rooms backstage.
What improvements have been made on last year's event?
This year we are hosting a separate event in the Covent Garden Piazza where we are screening the Awards to a public audience of over 400. There are also additional film-related activities for the public starting from 11.00am in the Piazza which is very exciting.
The party at the Grosvenor House sponsored by E! Entertainment promises to be the best we have ever put on. We have increased the 'wow' factor this year with exquisite British food, tables themed by film genres and a later finish.
Is there anything special people should be looking out for this year?
Well, aside from a truly exceptional guest list and increased access to the red carpet, there is a red button film quiz throughout the BBC One broadcast and a separate BBC interactive programme over the news break.
Written by Rob Cawston, Fri 8 February
BAFTA on BEBO
You can now find BAFTA on Bebo!
Launched to coincide with the annual Film Awards, this content rich profile offers Bebo users the chance to keep up to date with the latest BAFTA news as well as linking up with like-minded people.
During the last year we have seen the enormous growth of social networking and sites combining . By creating a BAFTA presence on sites like Bebo we hope to communicate with new audiences and find new ways to fulfil our charitable mission.
What do you think of our Bebo page? You can check out BAFTA's new profile at www.bebo.com/bafta .
Written by Robert Cawston, Thur 7 Feb
Famous for 60 Seconds
As well as celebrating the very best from the film industry, the Film Awards also see the culmination of “60 Seconds of Fame”, the Academy’s short film challenge in association with Orange. By inviting people to submit a 60 second short film based around the theme “unite” 60 Seconds encourages people to be creative and get involved in the film-making process.
It has been a fantastic experience organising the initiative this year with BAFTA and Orange. The standard of entries has been incredibly high and we received hundreds of mini-masterpieces in genres ranging from comedy to animation and even horror!
Voting has now finished across the country and the winning films from the 15 BBC nations and regions in the UK have been put forward to the final. On the day of the Film Awards the 15 films will be shown on the big screen in the Covent Garden Piazza and the overall winner - decided by a BAFTA Grand Jury - will be announced by Andy Serkis and Mark Kermode in front of a live audience.
On top of that, the winning filmmaker will truly experience 60 seconds of fame when their film is featured as part of the ceremony to be broadcast on BBC ONE at 9pm on Sunday 10 February.
You can view all the Regional Winners on the 60 Seconds of Fame Website .
Written by Alex Cook, Special Projects Coordinator, Wed 6 February
Flex your film muscles
With just three days to go, the finishing touches are being made to an exciting interactive red button film quiz. Digital viewers on BBC ONE will be able to enjoy the quiz throughout the broadcast for the Film Awards this Sunday from 9pm.
Film fans, whether discerning movie aficionados or casual filmgoers, will be tested on their knowledge of this year’s nominated films as well as a range of past BAFTA-winning classics. A spot of red button magic will then enable viewers to select one answer from a choice of four, with their final total revealed at the end of the show!
Here are a few questions to get your movie brains working:
1. La Vie En Rose portrayed the life of which famous French singer?
A Vanessa Paradis
B Edith Piaf
C Charlotte Gainsbourg
D Lucienne Boyer
2. Which British actor played Denzel Washington's brother in American Gangster?
A Idris Elba
B Colin Salmon
C Eamonn Walker
D Chiwetel Ejiofor
3. The Bourne Ultimatum features a tense action scene in which famous London train station?
C King's Cross
D Liverpool Street
There's still time to swot up - good luck!
(Answers: 1) B, 2) D, 3) A)
Written by Christine Robertson, Editorial Coordinator, Thur 7 Feb
A Star-studded line up
One glance at the guest list and it is not hard to see why the Orange British Academy Film Awards in 2008 promise to be bigger and better than ever.
Along with host Jonathan Ross, nominees confirmed to date include (in alphabetical order): Paul Thomas Anderson, Javier Bardem, Joel Coen, Anton Corbijn, Marion Cotillard, Paul Dano, Daniel Day-Lewis, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Paul Greengrass, Keira Knightley, Kelly Macdonald, James McAvoy, Shane Meadows, Viggo Mortensen, Samantha Morton, Ridley Scott, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Joe Wright.
Orange Rising Star Award nominees Sam Riley, Sienna Miller and Tang Wei are also expected at the event with last year’s winner Eva Green.
Plus, joining the nominees on the night, guests currently confirmed to present awards include Jessica Biel, Orlando Bloom, Ricky Gervais, Cuba Gooding Jnr, Kate Hudson, Eddie Izzard, Sir Ian McKellen and Kevin Spacey.
As we approach the big night more names will be confirmed. Find out how you can see the stars arrive on the red carpet: click here .
Written by Rob Cawston, Tues 5 February
Party in the Piaza
The Academy Office is pretty hectic at the moment with preparations for the Orange British Academy Film Awards. This year, alongside the ceremony itself we are organizing an action packed schedule for the public.
For the first time we will be hosting a live screening of the ceremony for 350 lucky film-lovers in the Covent Garden Piazza. This will be the climax of a full day of activity in a specially constructed arena outside the Royal Opera House .
Between 11am and 3pm visitors to Covent Garden will be invited walk up a red carpet and sample a little of the awards’ glamour including an opportunity to get up close to the famous BAFTA mask.
Later on two competitions will culminate in the Piazza. 200 intrepid photographers will have been searching for famous film locations across the West End as part of Shoot BAFTA, our photographic treasure hunt run by Shoot Experience . The best photos will then be showcased in the arena. After that the regional winners of 60 Seconds of Fame will nervously gather on stage. We have just confirmed that Andy Serkis and Mark Kermode will present the award to the overall winner.
All this will happen before the Awards even begin…
It's fantastic that this year we'll be able to bring the Awards out to a public audience and get them to share in the excitement of the event.
Written by Pete Reynolds, Production Manager, Fri 1 Feb
The Film Awards are coming…
The British Academy Film Awards are almost as old as the Academy itself. The first ceremony took place in 1948, the year after director David Lean and his film industry colleagues founded the British Film Academy. Only two awards were presented with Carol Reed's manhunt thriller Odd Man Out and William Wyler’s The Best Year’s of Our Lives taking the plaudits.
How times have changed. For example, the ceremony has since been hosted in no fewer than 15 different venues and the famous BAFTA mask is now presented in 23 categories.
The build up to this year's Awards began as far back as May 2007 when films started to be entered for consideration by Academy Members. Since then our team has been working hard to make sure that British Academy Film Awards maintain their reputation as setting the standards for excellence in film and as one of the glitziest nights of the year!
As the big night approaches Members are busy casting their final votes and the BAFTA office is a flurry of activity. An amazing amount of time, effort and energy goes into putting on the perfect event, from booking the star-studded guest list to rolling out the red carpet.
In the next two weeks you will be able to hear from the people that make the Awards happen. Keep reading our Blog for an inside view of the Awards...
Written by Rob Cawston, Mon 28 Jan 2008
Celebrating excellence on the web
As you may have noticed the BAFTA website went through a major overall towards the end of last year. The idea was to improve the way everyone can experience the work of the Academy online – in short, to celebrate the best that the internet has to offer, from the latest BAFTA news to event booking, photo galleries and webcasts.
Since the start of the new year we have been working hard to improve things further, adding a new homepage and a host of webcasts from past Academy events. And with the Film Awards just around the corner we have launched a range of new features enabling the awards to become a truly interactive experience.
Watch the latest webcasts including the nominations announcement by Naomie Harris and Kelly Reilly and an exclusive preview of our cinema trailer, ' Bring the Glamour Home '. Browse the photo galleries from the awards archive and last year's red carpet or enter our exclusive competition to win a nominee gift bag. The style and glamour of the awards is just a click away!
Most importantly, keep watching the website on the night for live updates from the awards themselves. See who was wearing what on the red carpet and be the first to find out who has won a coveted BAFTA mask.
And if that wasn’t enough check out our BAFTA page on Bebo at: www.bebo.com/bafta .
Written by Rob Cawston, Mon Jan 14 2008
And the Nominees Are...
The nominations for the Orange British Academy Film Awards have just been announced at Academy Headquarters by Naomie Harris and Kelly Reilly. It was an early start this morning as we opened the doors to the press and set up the Academy’s first ever live webstream . Over 1,000 people watched the announcement live on the site from as far away as Los Angeles.
So, what about the Nominations themselves? Short lists always provoke discussion and can often divide opinion. Looking at the nominations though, it is hard to see which films and individuals could be replaced. There can be no doubt that the short list contain films of the highest quality and includes some truly remarkable performances.
I know who I’ll be rooting for on the night but we really want to know what you think. Let us know by posting your comments on the blog. And don't forget to check out the website on the night to be the first to find out who has won...
Written by Rob Cawston, Wed 16 Jan
Five stars are rising
The nominees for the Orange Rising Star Award were announced on 8 January at the Academy’s Headquarters, 195 Piccadilly.
In front of the nation’s press last year’s winner, Eva Green read out the list of the five actors and actresses that have captured the public imagination as a star in the making.
After winning the award in 2007 , the star of Casino Royale has continued to impress, landing leading roles in The Golden Compass and the forthcoming Franklyn (also starring 2008 nominee Sam Riley).
As the only publicly-voted Award winning means genuine recognition from the film-going public and a further boost on the way to more success.
Don’t forget to vote for your favourite:
text ORSA SHIA to 82058
text ORSA SIENNA to 82058
text ORSA ELLEN to 82058
text ORSA SAM to 82058
text ORSA TANG to 82058
- Texts cost 25p plus a standard network charge. Network charges may vary.
Or vote online at the Orange site: www.orange.co.uk/bafta .
Let us know what you think of this year's Rising Stars – post your comments below.
Written by Rob Cawston